3,000-Year-Old Book Review: Deuteronomy
Reading the entire Bible is one of those challenges that has floated around my yearly goals list for ages. I’ve never done it (or even cracked the first page of Genesis) with any sort of plan - until 2015! There are many reading plans out there, but my favorite goes from cover to cover and involves about 15 minutes (or 2-3 chapters) of reading per night. I’m reading it out loud, which has been especially beneficial as hubby is recovering from Lasik and giving his eyes a rest at night is wonderful.
Since January 1, we have completed Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua. Concurrently reading God is Disappointed in You has proved to be a light-hearted and fun way to get some basic insights into what was happening. Some may find it irreverent, but we enjoyed a few belly laughs in the middle of Moses’ Old Testament laws and constant repetition of the same stories.
Below is a brief review of Deuteronomy as a letter to Moses. When was the last time you read a review of a 3,421-year-old book? Spoiler alert!
You were so tired. You were a good guy trying to do the right thing. Your story began as an infant floating down the Nile River in a basket, and it ends at the Jordan River when God prevents you from crossing. Between those two rivers, you abandoned a life of luxury to embrace your true heritage as a Hebrew slave. It’s a respectable, if ill-advised move. When you found out your true lineage, you embraced it and forced Pharaoh’s hand. He sent you packing across the desert on a would-be suicide mission. But you were tough, and you had God on your side, which helps.
You meet a nice gal (Zipporah), settle down and then a burning bush appears and the voice of God tells you to march right back into the danger zone. You worked to liberate an entire people and served as the catalyst for God rescuing the Israelites and delivering them to the land He had promised their forefathers. It was a big job and you were reluctant, but you can’t exactly back down when God comes a-callin’. Kudos to you for not backing down. I wonder how many people would have that kind of backbone nowadays.
The Israelites didn’t exactly make your job easy. You turned around for 5 minutes (or 40 days) to receive the Law and then God gave you a nudge. “Um, Moses? You’d probably better get back down there. The inmates have taken over the asylum.” I can only imagine how disappointed you were to find everyone drunk, fornicating and worshipping a golden calf. Even worse, your brother Aaron was the one who made their idol for him. Ug.
You told them to shape up or ship out, and with a little zapping from God, ended up with a respectable group to lead to the Promised Land. They kept screwing up along the way and turned into a giant lot of whiners and complainers. “We want meat! We need water!” Their lack of trust in God resulted in 40 years of wandering in the desert, and you probably didn’t have time for that (ain’t nobody got time for that). Then you reach Meribah and they start whining for water again like a bunch of toddlers with an empty sippy cup. God told you to speak to the rock and in your (understandable) frustration, you struck it with your staff instead. “You want water? I’ll give you water,” you said (paraphrase).
But it wasn’t you giving the water. It was God, and with this one mistake you lost your chance of making it to the Promised Land. God must have been really insulted and hurt that you tried to steal His thunder by taking credit for the water that came from the rock. You fulfilled your duty by leading this rag-tag bunch of complainers around in circles for decades. In one last act of mercy before you died, God told you to climb Mount Nebo to give you a glimpse of the Promised Land. It must have felt like a mean-spirited tease and a horrible letdown. All those years of obedience and you lost it all because you had one moment of weakness. It’s Murphy’s Law of miracles, isn’t it Moses?
I’ve really enjoyed reading your story and just wanted to write to tell you how sorry we are that things fell apart there at the end. You were a good and faithful servant who got cocky just once and didn’t get the satisfaction of seeing everyone enter the Promised Land. The God of the New Testament would probably have been more forgiving, but you served as an example of just how far we all are from righteousness. We’re sorry this happened to you, and hope you got a heavenly reward to make up for it (no more whining Israelites!).
P.S. A friend told me that you’re going to make an appearance in Matthew and can’t wait for an encore!
P.P.S. It might seem silly to re-tell your story to you when you’re the one who lived it, but you made me read almost everything that happened three times, so this is payback! Next time, try not to be so redundant!